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METOO Impact: Sexual Harassment Incidents Reporting Increases

When a woman employed with a large multinational company in India reported a sexual harassment case, the accused was punished, but there were consequences for the victim, too. She soon found herself the focus of office gossip and, on some occasions, was even made to feel guilty about the offender losing his job.

The data on sexual harassment cases reported at S&P BSE 100 companies, an index representing India’s largest firms, shows such instances may well be weighing heavy on women in India companies.

The Business Responsibility Reports from 300 annual filling since 2015-16 show fewer than 500 sexual harassment complaints for firms with comparable data, despite them employing over 414,000 women. This works out to around a dozen complaints per 10,000 women employees (0.12per cent) for the 67 companies where the data is available for all three years.

The complaints seem low compared to studies which looked at the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. Nayreen Daruwalla, programme director, Prevention of Violence against Women & Children for SNEHA Foundation, said companies rarely take action unless the case is severe.